— 1 —
Supply Chain Shaman’s
Journal
A Focused Look at Demand
Volume 2 - Issue 2
Summer 2014
TM
by Lora Cecere
TM
The
Supply Chain Shaman’s
Journal™
A Focused Look at Demand
Volume 2 – Issue 2
Summer 2014
by
Lora Cecere
author of
Bricks...
Contents
Introduction.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5
Demand Managemen...
— 4 —
— 5 —
Introduction
Organizations are hard-wired for supply. They want to seize demand opportunities, and they have
goals t...
— 6 —
Demand Management
— 7 —
My Take: Let’s Admit Seven Demand Management Mistakes of
the Last Decade
Originally published on January 28, 2013
Wi...
— 8 —
Why It Matters More Than Ever. Facing the Supply Chain Plateau.
Supply Chain Management (SCM) concepts are now 30 ye...
— 9 —
appropriate use of the sales input or apply discipline on the input that was driving a
40% forecast over-bias. I str...
— 10 —
obsolescence. I was recently speaking at the Institute of Business Forecasting (IBF)
conference and a leader of a m...
— 11 —
Three Lies and a Truth
Originally published on October 20, 2012
When new groups come together, the forming process ...
— 12 —
best job. The reason? I think that there are many. Many would argue it’s because supply chains grew
more complex. S...
— 13 —
Last year, $450 million of profits were lost in the Japanese auto industry and Intel lost $1 billion in
revenue due...
— 14 —
with companies, I am seeing the inverse. The narrow definition of the supply chain organization has
become a barrie...
— 15 —
shared vision, the right skills, aligned incentives, available resources, a common plan and leadership
to drive the...
— 16 —
Seven Sins of Demand Planning
Originally published on May 18, 2011
On the first afternoon, it could be summed up as...
— 17 —
not selling. So the company decided to price them at a significant reduction to move them and reduce
inventory. How...
— 18 —
Trading Places
Originally published on February 28, 2011
The storyline is old.  This blog post is a new take on an ...
— 19 —
The Story
While this story may not be as much fun as the original movie Trading Places, it is a real story where
a ...
— 20 —
Process discipline. Better math? In the new Terra Technology study, the use of statistical
modeling software improv...
— 21 —
Revenue Management: Beyond Smoke and Mirrors
Originally published on March 18, 2011
Improving revenue management—wh...
— 22 —
Changing Processes. These are not enterprise, but are inter-enterprise workflows, driven largely by
the nature of t...
— 23 —
While the DemandTec press releases on the acquisition are bullish, and the companies share a
common heritage, the m...
— 24 —
Demand Driven
— 25 —
Bait And Switch
Originally published on April 17, 2013
Bait and switch: A form of fraud. A dishonest marketing tact...
— 26 —
Why is this happening? The market for large ERP programs is slowing. The gravy train is coming to an
end. User sati...
— 27 —
•	 Most Have Defined “Demand” Too Narrowly. Demand in the demand-driven
network is about much, much more than forec...
— 28 —
•	 Design the Network. Actively design the network with clear push/pull boundaries
and right size buffers. The stro...
— 29 —
In summary, progress on supply chain cycles and margins, and balancing the trade-offs of complexity,
has stalled. O...
— 30 —
Change the Conversation
Originally published on October 29 2013
It is Monday morning. As the sun rises, I find myse...
— 31 —
seasonal stock, etc.) Actively model and help peers to understand the impact of rising
complexity on the form and f...
— 32 —
It Is Just You and Me, Dude. The Secret Is Safe. Promise.
Originally published on August 1, 2013
At the end of the ...
— 33 —
Why do we need to change? It comes down to good business. In most companies, growth is
stalled. Traditional marketi...
— 34 —
Alignment of Functional to Corporate Metrics. Focus on the Use of New Forms of Analytics in
Horizontal Processes. M...
— 35 —
Good-Bye to a Global Pioneer
Originally published on September 13, 2011
Last week, while I was in Shanghai attendin...
— 36 —
confident to invest in co-development with a small, and emerging technology vendor. He understood
that it was harde...
— 37 —
Demand Sensing
— 38 —
Stasis
Originally published on April 27, 2014
sta•sis (ˈsteɪ sɪs, ˈstæs ɪs)
n., pl. sta•ses (ˈsteɪ siz, ˈstæs iz)
t...
— 39 —
and Walmart conspicuously absent. Kroger’s movement to Market6 added to the stasis. Companies
are shipping fewer an...
— 40 —
Can You Take the Risk?
Originally published on April 11, 2014
“This is not a supply chain process. It is a new way ...
— 41 —
Why?  The term “supply chain” is politically charged. It has become a function, not an
end-to-end process.  Marketi...
— 42 —
Focus Where It Matters. Yesterday, I hosted a webinar with David Simchi-Levi of MIT. He has defined
a Risk Index wh...
— 43 —
How Do I Know If I Am Ready?
Originally published on March 27, 2014
“How can I move the ball down the field, if I d...
— 44 —
The answer? Take it slow. Prove that it works and educate the team on how the “touching of demand
data” actually re...
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014
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The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014

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Organizations are hard-wired for supply. They want to seize demand opportunities, and they have goals to build demand-driven organizations, but they are unable to move forward because it requires a new way of thinking.
Here I share a collection of blog posts on demand. Each is grouped around a specific topic:
• Demand Management
• Concepts of Becoming Demand Driven
• Demand Sensing
• Demand Shaping
• Digital Supply Chain
They should be read like a series of short stories. The articles were written over the last four years of travel to help companies with their supply chain. Many are reflections of the pain that organizations are experiencing around demand.
It does not have to be so hard. We just have to unwire for supply to redefine demand.
Good luck on your journey,
Lora Cecere, a.k.a. the Supply Chain Shaman
Founder of Supply Chain Insights LLC

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Transcript of "The Supply Chain Shaman's Journal - A Focus on Demand - Summer 2014"

  1. 1. — 1 — Supply Chain Shaman’s Journal A Focused Look at Demand Volume 2 - Issue 2 Summer 2014 TM by Lora Cecere TM
  2. 2. The Supply Chain Shaman’s Journal™ A Focused Look at Demand Volume 2 – Issue 2 Summer 2014 by Lora Cecere author of Bricks Matter – The Role of Supply Chains in Building Market-Driven Differentiation SUPPLY CHAIN INSIGHTS LLC, PHILADELPHIA Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. Published May, 2014 ISBN # 978-0-9889376-3-5 PDF version
  3. 3. Contents Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Demand Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 My Take: Let’s Admit Seven Demand Management Mistakes of the Last Decade . . . 7 Three Lies and a Truth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Seven Sins of Demand Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Trading Places. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Revenue Management: Beyond Smoke and Mirrors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Demand Driven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Bait And Switch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Change the Conversation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 It Is Just You and Me, Dude. The Secret Is Safe. Promise. . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Good-Bye to a Global Pioneer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Demand Sensing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Stasis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Can You Take the Risk? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 How Do I Know If I Am Ready?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Learning to Speak the Language of Demand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Things Have Changed. What Do We Do NOW?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Another Concorde?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Demand Shaping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Wrong People on the Bus?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Turning Up the Heat: A Hot Topic on a Hot Afternoon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Demand Cacophony. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Digital Supply Chain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Digital Path To Purchase: An Outside-In Opportunity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 What Should Be the Role of the Store?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Taming the Supply Chain. Will It Ever Be Social?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Convergence Is REAL. It Is NOW.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 More Than Just an F-WORD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Supply Chain Insights Training Sessions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Supply Chain Insights’ 2014 Global Summit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
  4. 4. — 4 —
  5. 5. — 5 — Introduction Organizations are hard-wired for supply. They want to seize demand opportunities, and they have goals to build demand-driven organizations, but they are unable to move forward because it requires a new way of thinking. Here I share a collection of blog posts on demand. Each is grouped around a specific topic: • Demand Management • Concepts of Becoming Demand Driven • Demand Sensing • Demand Shaping • Digital Supply Chain They should be read like a series of short stories. The articles were written over the last four years of travel to help companies with their supply chain. Many are reflections of the pain that organizations are experiencing around demand. It does not have to be so hard. We just have to unwire for supply to redefine demand. Good luck on your journey, Lora Cecere, a.k.a. the Supply Chain Shaman Founder of Supply Chain Insights LLC
  6. 6. — 6 — Demand Management
  7. 7. — 7 — My Take: Let’s Admit Seven Demand Management Mistakes of the Last Decade Originally published on January 28, 2013 Within an organization, the words “Demand Planning” stir emotions. Usually, it is not a mild reaction. Instead, it’s a series of emotions defined by wild extremes including anger, despair, disillusionment, or hopelessness. Seldom do we find a team excited about demand planning. Supply chain leaders want to improve it, but are not optimistic that they can make improvements. After two decades of process and technology refinement, excellence in demand management still eludes supply chain teams. It is the supply chain planning application with the greatest gap between performance and satisfaction, and is the area with the greatest planned future spending. For most teams, it is a conundrum. It is a true love and hate relationship. They want to improve demand planning, but they remain skeptical that they can ever be successful in improving the process. As shown in Figure 1, demand planning is important to supply chain leaders, but also an area with very large gaps in user satisfaction. Figure 1. In our research at Supply Chain Insights, we find that demand planning is the most misunderstood of any supply chain planning application. Companies are the most satisfied with warehouse and transportation management and the least satisfied with demand planning. Teams are also confused on the process. What drives excellence in demand planning has changed and well-intentioned consultants give bad advice. In this article, we share insights on the current state and give actionable advice that teams can take to make improvements.
  8. 8. — 8 — Why It Matters More Than Ever. Facing the Supply Chain Plateau. Supply Chain Management (SCM) concepts are now 30 years old. The first use of the term supply chain management in the commercial sector was in 1982. Previously, the focus was on a more siloed approach to improving manufacturing, procurement or logistics. When they were lumped together, it gave birth to the concepts of demand planning and integrated supply chain planning. The first demand planning applications were introduced late in the 1980s. Today, most supply chain professionals believe that the supply chain planning solutions have driven steady progress to reduce costs, improve inventories and speed time to market. What we find is that we have actually moved backwards over the course of the last ten years on growth, operating margin and inventory turns. We have improved days payable, but this has pushed costs and working capital responsibility backwards in the supply chain, moving the costs to the suppliers. To move forward, we have to admit the mistakes of the past. We need to fail forward. In this journey to sense and shape and use demand information to drive a more profitable response, leaders have to confront a number of mistakes made in the design of demand processes over the course of the last decade. Here we start with the seven that we see the most often: 1) One-Number Forecasting. It Is a Hoax. Well-intentioned consultants tout the concept of one-number forecasting. Eager executives drink the magic elixir. But, they realize too late that this is overhyped and too simplistic. As a result, the concept adds, does not decrease, forecast error. The reason? It is too simplistic.  The people who push this concept do not understand demand planning. A demand plan is hierarchical around products, time, geographies, channels, and attributes. It is a complex set of role-based time-phased data. As a result, a one- number thought process is naïve. An effective demand plan has MANY numbers that are tied together in an effective data model for role-based planning and “what-if” analysis. A one-number plan is too constraining for the organization. A forecast is a series of time-phased numbers carefully architected in a data model of products, calendars, channels and regions. The numbers within the plans have different importance to different individuals within the organization. So, instead of one number, the focus needs to be a common plan with marketing, sales, financial and supply chain views and agreement on market assumptions. This requires the use of an advanced forecasting technology and the design of the system to visualize role-based views that can only be found in the more advanced forecasting systems. 2) Consensus Planning. In the last ten years, the concept of consensus planning was advanced by the industry with the belief that each organization within the company could add insight to make the demand plan better. The concept is correct; but for most, the implementation was flawed. The issue is that most companies did not hold groups within the organization accountable for bias and error. Each group within the company has a natural bias and error based on incentives, and unless the process has discipline around this reporting, the process of consensus forecasting will distort the forecast and add error despite well-intended efforts to improve the forecasting process. I have worked with one company that has redesigned their collaborative demand planning processes three times. Each time it was to improve the user interface to make data collection easier by sales. Not once did they ever question the value and
  9. 9. — 9 — appropriate use of the sales input or apply discipline on the input that was driving a 40% forecast over-bias. I struggle with why more teams do not apply the principles of Lean to consensus planning process through Forecast Value-Add Analysis. This is best described by Mike Gilliland in his book The Business Forecasting Deal: Exposing Myths, Eliminating Bad Practices, Providing Practical Solutions. 3) Collaborative Planning Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR). This process was the most widely adopted in the consumer packaged goods industry. The design of the process was for manufacturers to collaborate with their retail partners on the building of a demand plan for the extended network. This process, termed Collaborative Planning Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR), was designed to align the manufacturer’s demand plan to the retailer’s and reduce the bullwhip effect. The assumption was that the retailer’s forecast would provide better insights. The maturity of the retailer forecast was never considered. The issue is that the majority of retailers have poor forecasts, and the process never accounted for the inherent bias and error of the retailer forecast. When a consumer product company measures forecast accuracy and holds retailers accountable for bias and error, there is usually only one retailer that measures up to the test and requirements of CPFR. This retailer is Walmart. For the rest, the process of CPFR has increased demand error. Bad inputs lead to a bad output. 4) Data Model Design. Forecasting What to Make Versus Forecasting the Channel Demands. The traditional technique is to forecast what manufacturing should make. This has changed to modeling what is being sold in the channel. This difference, while it may sound trivial, is a major difference. It requires a step for demand translation. Forecasting channel demand reduces demand latency and gives the organization a more current signal. It also allows the augmentation of the forecast with demand insights to improve the quality of the forecast. For most companies, this requires a re-implementation of the demand planning technologies. 5) Rewarding the Urgent Versus the Important. Time after time, we see companies implement demand planning technologies and improve forecasting processes, but not improve the overall results of the supply chain. The issue is the lack of training on how to “use the better forecast signal.” Most supply-centric teams are not clear. They see it as a set of numbers to be tightly integrated; whereas, the more mature teams see it as probability of demand to be used in their network design and supply planning models. For them, it is not as much about the specific number of demand, it is about the demand pattern and the probability of demand. 6) 80% Is Good Enough. When it comes to a demand planning implementation, the devil is in the details. Seasonality, causal factors, usability, and the depth of predictive analytics are critical. This can only be determined through the use of the software in conference room pilots. Unfortunately, teams rush to implement versus spending time to understand the capabilities of the different packages. The best teams carefully evaluate the pros and cons of forecasting packages through testing in conference room pilots. 7) Focusing on “Sell into” the Channel Versus “Sell through.” Most organizations are only looking at the modeling of “sell-into the channel” versus “sell- through the channel.” By sensing demand at different channel points, and managing the inventories in the channel, manufacturers can avoid returned products and
  10. 10. — 10 — obsolescence. I was recently speaking at the Institute of Business Forecasting (IBF) conference and a leader of a mature demand-planning process was speaking. His comment stayed with me, “I can always get better on demand planning. We can work on this over time; however, time is of the essence to measure the velocity of product movement of every channel buffer point. If we screw up the management of inventories and the sensing of new product launch, it is the difference between success and failure.” So many times, the concepts of demand planning are seen as passive and detached from the organization. In this case, the supply chain leader took ownership of channel demand through the channel, and has gotten promoted three times since I last heard him speak. The shift is invaluable to the organization. Looking Forward So while companies want to move forward, and the desire is to re-implement demand planning, in our opinion, they cannot be successful unless they admit the mistakes of the past. Would love to know your thoughts. Anything that I have missed?      
  11. 11. — 11 — Three Lies and a Truth Originally published on October 20, 2012 When new groups come together, the forming process is often awkward. Teams want to know each other, but introductions are strained. So, how can they do it quickly and move on to solving business problems? Ice breakers help. One of my favorites is the game, “Three Truths and a Lie.” In this team activity, people who do not know each other list four statements and ask the group to guess which statement is false. It is usually fun and revealing. This week, I played a variant of this game with my audience. I spoke at the Kinaxis event (#kinexions12), and I asked companies to answer the question, “Which of the following statements is true?” I played three lies and a truth with the group. Most were surprised at the answer.  Here is the list: • Supply chain technology implementations have reduced inventory. • Companies should implement supply chain best practices. • Companies that have focused on collaboration in the supply chain have built competitive advantage. • Supply chain excellence matters. Seemingly, most supply chain leaders that are reading the press, or going to industry conferences, would believe that all four statements are true. However, based on the research for the book Bricks Matter, I now sadly know that only one of these statements is true. Here I share insights on my journey to understand the truth. The Lies That I Have Told As a supply chain analyst for the last ten years, I have a passion for writing. I have averaged about 100 articles a year. I love the process of research. For some absurd reason, that I don’t quite understand, I have a passion for supply chain. I believe that it is the lingua franca of the business. Unknowingly, I have told three lies. I have discovered the truth through the research for Bricks Matter. Here they are: The Lie of Inventory Reduction Over the course of the last decade, I have carefully recorded and reported presentation after presentation from conference after conference and interview after interview with supply chain leaders. Repeatedly, I heard that supply chain applications have saved costs, reduced inventory and improved customer service. I wanted to believe, and in fact, I do believe that most projects did have short- term impact. However, the results were not sustained and the impact cannot be seen on the balance sheets. How do I know? I have been fortunate over the last year to work with Abby Mayer (@indexgirl). Abby and Mikey on my team have built a database of financial ratios from publicly available balance sheets from 1995-2012. We have been mining the data to understand the trade-offs between growth, profitability, cycle and complexity ratios. We are trying to understand how supply chain leaders have raised the bar at the intersection of these four sets of metrics on the supply chain effective frontier. The results have been eye-opening. The problem is that when I examine balance sheets over the last 13 years, as shown in Table 1, I find that few industries have reduced inventories year-over-year. Consumer electronics has done the
  12. 12. — 12 — best job. The reason? I think that there are many. Many would argue it’s because supply chains grew more complex. Some would say that it is because supply chains became longer due to outsourcing. I struggle to think that this is the reason. The consumer electronics industry experienced the blow of both of these business impacts simultaneously. In fact, I believe that if these issues solely drove up inventory that the consumer electronic inventories should have soared higher than other industries. They did not. Table 1. I think that the answer is deeper. I believe that the more insidious reason was that most supply chain projects were implemented as discrete projects and not part of a systemic business transformation. Leaders focused on process after process that was not designed to be part of a larger supply chain strategy. Silos in the organization do not know how they align because over 85% of companies are not clear on supply chain strategy. I also believe that it is because the organization is not incented to manage cash-to-cash metrics. The strong functional silos focus on their own metrics which seldom include the cycle metrics of inventory turns, working capital or cash-to-cash. When working capital has been reduced, it is usually a story of reducing payables. For many this has increased supply chain risk due to a weakening of the supplier base. Technologies were implemented as projects. Well-intended projects and process built-in isolation were a major barrier to meeting the goal. There was no accountability. As a result, most of the results were not sustainable over time. For more on the impact of supply chain technologies on inventory, check out the blog post “Why Have We Not Reduced Inventory?” The Lie of Best Practices As I have studied the practices of supply chain management, I do not think that we have BEST practices. Instead, I think that they are EVOLVING.  I think that any consultant that talks to you about best practices should be nicely escorted to the lobby and shown the curb. In the last decade, we have moved through the evolution of the efficient supply chain (lowest cost per case) to the reliable supply chain (right product, at the right time at the right cost) to the resilient supply chain. In 2009, the definition of supply chain resiliency was driven by the impact of the Great Recession. In 2011, insurance claims and business continuity amplified the discussion.
  13. 13. — 13 — Last year, $450 million of profits were lost in the Japanese auto industry and Intel lost $1 billion in revenue due to floods in Thailand and the associated impact on Thai suppliers. Over and over again, I see that the evolution of supply chain processes is born largely from failure. This heightened awareness on business continuity has increased the emphasis on supplier development and is changing the processes in procurement to focus from squeezing costs and terms to building relationships. But, it does not stop there. With the rise of corporate social responsibility, and the discussion of natural capital accounting focused on air, water, land and biodiversity, companies are learning that only a tiny fraction of nonrenewable resources are under their direct control (reference Carbon Disclosure Project 2012). This measurement of intertwined, nonrenewable resources will push a new definition of supply chain management. It will force the discussion of supply chains to value networks. Companies will be forced to own their entire supply chain. However, there is more to the story. As growth flattens and commodity pressures escalate, market-to-market orchestration and the building of outside-in horizontal processes is the next frontier. The momentum to build market-driven value networks with bidirectional orchestration of demand and supply variability is the aspiration.  Today’s supply chains were built assuming that manufacturing is the primary constraint and that oil was $10 per barrel. West Texas crude is now selling for 3X the price in the 1990s. Materials and commodities are becoming the new supply chain constraint, and there are few technologies to guide direct procurement visualization and optimization. This was the roots of Kinaxis, and new players like SCA, Signal Demand and Triple Point are entering the fray. I agree that there are best practices to implement a technology. Industry templates, commonly defined interfaces, and IT standards; but we cannot confuse the implementation of a technology with the definition and implementation of holistic end-to-end value networks. I think we are a LONG way from having supply chain best practices. Ironically, my observation is that the same thing that got us here will be a barrier for the future. It is the definition of the “supply chain organization.” For many years, the evolution of supply chain practices was slowed by the lack of a supply chain organization. Now, based on the work that I am doing
  14. 14. — 14 — with companies, I am seeing the inverse. The narrow definition of the supply chain organization has become a barrier. When you say building the “end-to-end value chain” and there is push back that this is not the job of the supply chain, you have problems. Unfortunately, the supply chain organization has been defined too narrowly. It is frequently named supply chain; but only has control over logistics or distribution. The definitions in Europe are more constraining than those in the US. The irony is that while these teams state that they want to build the global end-to-end value network, that there is no one in the group that is responsible for looking at business decisions end to end. In fact, in most organizations where I am working today, I struggle to find anyone that has an end-to-end focus. Unfortunately, the door is not swinging both ways. Our drive for supply chain excellence, put the sign over the door. Horizontal processes —Sales and operations planning, revenue management, supplier development and corporate social responsibility— are the pathway forward; but to do this the supply chain organization has to be willing to have the spirit to tackle what they feel that they cannot do. Simply put, it is the building of the processes from the outside-in from the customer’s customer to the supplier’s supplier. They have to be comfortable challenging sales-driven and marketing- driven mindsets to drive higher value through market-driven value networks. Most are not ready. The windowless silos are too strong. While the group will say that these are supply chain processes, they do not feel that it is the role of the supply chain organization to drive them. I find this sad. Where will the organization get the cross-functional leadership to build these horizontal processes? It will probably happen through failure. If we do not change, it will be driven through a bad score on a carbon footprint audit, a failed product launch, or supplier failure. The supply chain organization now has as deeply entrenched walls as the other silos in the organization. The group has forgotten the charter to connect the silos, reduce latency and improve end-to-end decision-making. For many, sadly, this is not the role of the supply chain organization. This old supply chain gal is shocked, and leaves many organizations shaking her head in disbelief. For more on this subject, reference the blog post “Reflections.” The Lie of Collaboration There is probably not a more overhyped and overused word in supply chain management than the term “collaboration.” It is pervasive in the spoken language of every supply chain executive and absent in the results. I believe that collaboration is a sustainable win-win value proposition that benefits both parties. And, if this is the case, I believe that you should see the total cost of the supply chain decrease and the days of working capital improve. As I run these analysis and study value chain after value chain, I cannot find one example where supply chain processes have improved total cost and working capital. I really want to believe. I keep on looking. Instead, what I find is that we have shifted costs and working capital backwards in the supply chain. The waste in the crevices of the supply chain that lies between parties has not declined. The irony is that pushing costs back in the supply chain weakens the supply chain because most suppliers have a higher cost of capital and lower gross margin than their downstream trading partners. One of the ironies of this work has been the discovery that most of the work that we have called “collaboration” has actually put more risk into the supply chain. My favorite slide on collaboration came from a P&G presentation at an Effective Consumer Response (ECR) conference in Europe. The speaker was sharing his experience on “collaboration.” His belief was P&G in Europe experienced a number of failed attempts at collaboration because there was not a
  15. 15. — 15 — shared vision, the right skills, aligned incentives, available resources, a common plan and leadership to drive the program. It was only when a company could bring all of these elements together that he believed supply chain leaders had the “right stuff” to drive successful collaboration. For more on supply chain collaboration, check out the blog post, “Yes, I Am a Contrarian.” Why? Why? Why? So, why have we perpetuated these myths? I think that it is because we are not holding ourselves accountable to balance sheet deliverables. The data is hard to get. The peer group analysis is even tougher, and most supply chain teams struggle to speak the language of business. My advice is to cast off the four letter acronyms and forget the “geek speak” of IT. Instead, learn to talk the language of financial supply chain ratios and hold yourself and your team accountable. The Truth The truth is that supply chain excellence matters. You can see it in the resiliency of companies when faced with market shifts or in the ability of companies to make progress on the supply chain effective frontier of trade-offs (reference the Supply Chain Insights report, Conquering the Supply Chain Effective Frontier ). Let me close with my quote of the week. It comes from Don Gaspari (from NCR) at the Kinaxis Conference. I had worked with NCR for many years and had helped them develop their S&OP processes. He gave a great presentation. I was proud. He closed with “Supply chain is like marriage. It depends on good communication.” I think that this is true. I don’t think that we can clearly communicate unless we can speak the truth, even when it hurts. So, I think that it is time to get honest with ourselves about the progress of supply chain management over the past decade.
  16. 16. — 16 — Seven Sins of Demand Planning Originally published on May 18, 2011 On the first afternoon, it could be summed up as, “Oh father, we have sinned. Please forgive all of us sinners. “ This conference in Dallas was a good time for me to reflect on the history of demand planning. IBF celebrated their 30th Anniversary in Dallas without even a party. I give thanks for IBF and for the vendors that support their events. I think that we owe them a debt of thanks for continuing their advancement of demand planning excellence.  In my opinion, the greatest sin of all is that we have spent thirty years developing forecasting processes that are largely not used or trusted by the organizations that they serve. Here, in this blog post, I share my reflections on the group’s discussion on sins. The Seven Sins - The group discussion included these seven deadly sins: Sin #1. Not Using the Statistical Forecast to Drive Continuous Improvement. I have never worked with a company that could not improve its forecasting through better use of statistics. However, most companies are skeptical. Inherent in the DNA of the firm, there are “experts” that believe that they know the business better than any statistical package ever can. Given that a forecast is always wrong, and the forecasting process is fraught with political issues, companies struggle with how to use and gain acceptance for statistical forecasting. While benchmarking the forecast is difficult (reference blog post Trading Places), measuring continuous improvement through Forecast Value Added (FVA) analysis is a helpful, and easier method, to drive continuous improvement. In most FVA analysis presentations that I have seen lately, the statistical forecast is improving the naive forecast—forecast made based on prior month’s order history—by 3-5%. Similarly, the lack of control of managerial and discipline in the consensus forecasting process is reducing forecast accuracy by 2-5%. The technique allows companies to measure, improve and better drive forecast accuracy, and gain business alignment and support for the effort by dollarizing the impact of the forecast error. For example, one of the speakers at the conference shared that a 2% improvement in forecast accuracy was worth two headcount in his business. If the forecast could be improved by 2%, he could reduce the time spent on order expediting. Bottom line: Don’t look at forecast accuracy in isolation. (For those of you not familiar with the technique, I think that the white paper written by SAS is very useful. Reference http://www.sas. com/reg/wp/corp/6216). Sin #2. Only Owning Part of the Forecast. To use a baseball analogy, most demand planning teams are in the “outfield.” They “catch the forecast” from sales and marketing without owning the entire process. They catch and throw the forecast across functions without value-added analysis. Whereas, best in class teams, own the entire forecast. They know the baseline forecast and work on driving root cause analysis to improve demand shaping programs – price, promotions, marketing events, new product launch, and sales incentives. What does the difference look like?  For one company that I worked with over the past two years, this change was worth 5 million dollars in the reduction of obsolescence. Bottom line: Move out of the outfield and back to home plate to throw the ball to ensure that the organization can hit homeruns. Sin #3. Misuse of Downstream Data as an Input. When running out a product—to prevent obsolescence—be careful in the use of downstream data. Realize that you are pushing into the channel and that you do not want to drive replenishment. If you don’t have this discipline, you will recreate the Green Volvo Story. Remember that one? Hau Lee tells the story, “Volvo was awash in chartreuse green cars. Despite trying every option at the distributor to push the cars, the cars were
  17. 17. — 17 — not selling. So the company decided to price them at a significant reduction to move them and reduce inventory. However, this strategy was not communicated across the organization to demand planning. As a result, when the green Volvos sold, the sales orders triggered a forecast and the forecast consumption logic triggered replenishment and the factory cranked back up the production lines to make green Volvos.” I was telling this story a couple of years ago to a company that made women’s intimate apparel, and they started laughing incessantly. I finally stopped and asked why? In between uncontrollable laughter, the company shared that their Green Volvos were leopard skin fur thongs. So this sin goes across all industries from cars to lingerie. When pushing SLOB, turn off the knob to use downstream data, and be careful to not let orders drive replenishment. Likewise, downstream data should be used to trigger the completion of promotional replenishment. Sensing when to end a promotion is also essential to eliminating SLOB (Slow and Obsolete Inventory). Bottom line: Design the forecasting process and the use of the output of the forecasting process from the outside-in. In driving accurate replenishment, there is no substitute for knowing true channel behavior. Sin #4. A Project, Not a Program. A frequent question that I am asked is “how can I implement demand planning faster?” I will answer the question, but then I will ask, “Aren’t you shooting for the wrong goal? Shouldn’t your goal be to implement demand planning well not fast?” One of the companies that I admire, that has proven year over year to be one of the great leaders in the use of SAP APO DP is General Mills. When I wrote a case study of General Mills implementation as an AMR analyst, many companies pushed back and asked why I picked the General Mills case study to showcase. The reason was simple. They did not implement demand planning the fastest, they did it the best. For them, it was a program. It was valued. They wanted to get it right. It was not a project to quickly implement. Sin #5. Not All Items Are Created Equally. In the words of one participant in the workshop, “get to know the DNA of your item.” A few years ago, I was working with a company that made baby formula. Their most important and the lowest volume item was samples sent to the hospitals for new mothers. These samples were distributed on maternity wards at the birth of the baby to promote product trial. A successful trial could drive a couple of years of consumption through the life of the child through their years as a baby. So, a forecast error on these products was worth substantially more than a forecast error on turn volume. Sin #6. Forecast with the End in Mind. This may sound simple, but it is a sin that is frequently made. While many companies have set up their forecasting systems to forecast what manufacturing needs to make when, the greater opportunity is to model what the channel is going to sell and when. The company then translates these demand requirements to internal and external manufacturing locations. It is not as easy as just modeling the selling unit at the retail chain level. This is usually too low of a level to forecast—insufficient data to be significantly relevant—for the forecasting process. Likewise, with this increased need for transportation forecasting visibility, there is a need to forecast transportation requirements; and, to use channel data to determine distribution requirements. It is a proven fact that forecast consumption logic and one number forecasting is not sufficient. Instead, multiple forecasts need to be translated into a demand visibility signal for the corporation. Sin #7. Arrogance. Not Serving the Organization. At the conference, the SVP of Radio Shack gave a presentation on what makes a great demand planning group. His words of wisdom were “Be humble” and “Serve the organization.” In his experience, when the demand planning groups become arrogant—a “know it all group” that polices the forecast—everyone loses. What do you think? Do you have any sins of forecasting that you would like to share?
  18. 18. — 18 — Trading Places Originally published on February 28, 2011 The storyline is old.  This blog post is a new take on an old story. The storyline was the central theme of the 1983 American comedy titled Trading Places starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. Remember it? It was one of my favorites:  a funny movie where an upper class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler switch roles when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet. It is an ageless one where a less fortunate character trades places with a more fortunate. As a child, I was enthralled as I saw it play out in Mark Twain’s Prince and the Pauper and Disney’s Parent Trap. While these are fictional, this week I found a story where it happened in supply chain in real life. Some of my favorite supply chain management leaders—organizations that I have worked with over seven years—unknowingly traded places in organizational capabilities to forecast demand. Here I share what made the difference. Prelude Before I tell the story, let me share a quick perspective on what I have learned on benchmarking demand metrics. I have been working in this area for seven years. It is one of the hardest areas of the supply chain to benchmark. Of all the supply chain metrics, it is the BAD APPLE; however, for most companies, it is the most leveragable metric making it the BIG APPLE. While companies eagerly want demand data, and they want to improve their processes, benchmarking forecast accuracy is difficult.  Why is it so hard? Let’s start with the two major reasons: Reason #1. It Is Hard to get “Apples to Apples.” It Is a Fruit Basket. Every company does it differently: different hierarchies, different frequencies, and different measurement systems. It is the most inconsistent area in the supply chain to benchmark. When doing this type of work, it is essential to have an apple to apples comparison. To do this, you need to look closely at five variables: frequency of the planning, granularity of the planning (e.g., Monthly, weekly or daily planning), the construct of the data model (e.g., what is modeled), the input into the data model (e.g., shipments, orders, channel data), and the drivers of demand forecasting variance (e.g., promotions, seasonal builds, etc.) To get it right, the data must be scrubbed and normalized to ensure an apple to apple comparison. As a result, companies should never accept data from self-reported sources (e.g., APICS, IBF, APQC, SCOR Council, and most industry surveys). Reason #2. The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree.  The second reason is that it is hard to get. To be useful, and since market conditions change, the data set needs to represent a like peer group from the same point in time. Since many companies have multiple supply chains, and competitors tend to not want to share data directly with their competitor, getting the data is quite a feat. Prologue I ran into Robert Byrne, CEO of Terra Technology this week, and I was excited to find that he had just finished a project to benchmark demand data for consumer products companies that he had worked with in deploying his software solution. Five of the companies were organizations that I had benchmarked in 2003 and worked with over the past five years. While, neither Rob nor I can share the names of the companies, I would like to share my insights on their journey. It is truly a story of trading places.
  19. 19. — 19 — The Story While this story may not be as much fun as the original movie Trading Places, it is a real story where a focus on supply chain basics made a difference. In Table 1, I show the relative positions of the companies in the two analyses: Table 1. Comparison of Five Consumer Products Companies Forecast Accuracy   Has the industry made progress? Yes. Some, but not a great leap forward. For the group of companies that Terra Technology benchmarked, the average monthly Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) for a one month lag was 31% + 12%. Data eight years ago for the same companies was an average of 36% + 10% MAPE. The result? This group of consumer products leaders has gotten slightly; but not significantly better in demand forecasting. They have weathered the storm of market changes that could have made the forecast FAR worse. While few people in their organizations are giving these leaders pats on the backs (demand planners are used to getting kicked), I expected the results to be FAR worse. The industry has experienced major shocks. The list is long but includes shorter product lifecycles, product proliferation, higher levels of promotions, changes in competitive behavior, and global expansion.  Trading Places. What made the difference? Three elements drove the difference in relative position: organizational reporting, process discipline and the use of data-driven processes.  Trading Places. What did not make a difference? The type of software used for tactical forecasting did not make a statistical difference. It is the USE of the software rather than the SELECTION of the software that made the real difference. Organizational reporting. The company that had the worst performance in Rob’s benchmarking, and the best performance in 2003, introduced a very high forecast bias due to a change in forecast reporting relationships. The company made a decision shortly after the benchmarking in 2003 to have the forecasting group report through sales where there was a pervasive belief in the organization that if the company over-forecasted that sales would be higher. This decision increased bias and cast a cloud over the process. The lack of a “true North” in the organization became a stumbling block to improving forecast accuracy.
  20. 20. — 20 — Process discipline. Better math? In the new Terra Technology study, the use of statistical modeling software improved the forecast 3% on average (on a MAPE level with a 1 month lag) when compared to a naive forecast (volume planning where the forecast is based on what was shipped last month).  For the leaders when they used the math, it made a difference. In the top quartile of customers, the impact was 2X or a 6% improvement in MAPE. What is a 6% improvement in forecast accuracy worth? Based on AMR Research correlations, a 6% forecast improvement could improve the perfect order by 10% and deliver a 10-15% reduction in inventory. The greatest impact is seen in slow moving items on the tail of the supply chain. Unfortunately, most companies let their supply chain tail whip them around. It doesn’t just happen. It must be data driven. Basics matter. For me, the interesting story underneath the data is the switch in position of the players over the course of the eight years. In this time period, the Best-in-Class company in 2003 became the worst performer, and two low performers propelled themselves forward. These companies focused hard on the basics. This included efforts to clean data, identify an accurate baseline forecast, frequently tune supply chain planning software, a strong corporate demand planning team reporting through supply chain and the use of the statistics.  Thoughts on tactical forecasting. While technology vendors like to brag about the use of their technology making a difference in supply chain leadership, the data here is inconclusive. Instead, what made a difference in relative position was all about process, data and organizational reporting. I know, not the sexy stuff, but when it comes to tactical forecasting, the basics matter. And, while many companies think that they can overcome the deficiencies of a bad forecasting through shorter cycle times, this is shortsighted. The biggest advantages for the great forecasters are in improving tactical decision-making (long range planning usually from 3-18 months) to invest in the right manufacturing asset strategies, sourcing and commodity hedging plans, and long-range planning with carriers.  Companies that do not do this well are pushed to always react. They are forced to always be on the “back foot” with a serious impact to costs, customer service and inventory turns. The data also supports the fact that tactical forecasting by itself is not sufficient. The design of conventional supply chain software where the tactical forecast is consumed through rules-based consumption is deficient.  The work by Terra Technology in developing demand sensing capabilities improves the forecast by 15-33% (based on client interviews) to improve supply chain decision making in the operational horizon (weeks in the forecast duration of 3-12 weeks). This is a difference that matters for deployment, inventory and manufacturing planning. Wrapping It Up I commend Terra Technology for spending the energy and the manpower to benchmark their client base. This type of commitment to the client base differentiates and creates long-term relationships. I am also excited that Chainalytics is starting a demand planning benchmarking practice. It is my hope that this type of analysis will be able to be part of continuous efforts for supply chain leaders. I look forward to seeing your insights. What do you think? Did I miss anything?
  21. 21. — 21 — Revenue Management: Beyond Smoke and Mirrors Originally published on March 18, 2011 Improving revenue management—which includes the management of multi-party trade settlement (sometimes dubbed bifurcated trade management)—is an equal opportunity for all supply chains. No matter whether you are in a consumer, high tech, life sciences, or chemical supply chain it is a major source of cost, waste and frustration. Executives often will ask, “Why can’t we get this right?” I laugh and empathize. What seems so simple is very complex. The revenue management process varies by industry. Each value network shapes demand a bit differently and the contract terms are VERY industry specific. For example, consumer products companies lean heavily on trade promotions, high tech supply chains focus on new product introductions, life sciences on rebates and value-based outcomes and the chemical industry on price. Despite the differences there are commonalities: Traditional CRM Is Not the Answer. The historic footprint of CRM is sales pipeline management, customer service and call center execution and business development. This footprint lacks the data model for either decision support (Revenue Management Optimization (RMO)) or execution (Revenue Management Execution (RME)). This CRM data model is fundamentally flawed—focused on a pipeline data model for sales effectiveness versus a product/services data model that looks at the process workflows of bifurcated trade, the interrelationships of the demand shaping levers (price, promotion, incentives, buzz from the social web, trade and brand marketing and new product launch) and the visibility of a clear baseline forecast. As a result, the industry is forced to nurture and evolve small, industry-specific providers to augment and redefine front-office functionality. Complex Workflows with Substantial Opportunity. For the corporate fiscal year ending in 2010, the size of the prize is large. The average consumer products company spent 22% of revenue on trade promotion management (source Symphony/IRI and AMR Research/Gartner) and for the average life sciences company, rebates represented 18% of revenues (source IMS). For either industry segment this can quickly add up to over a billion dollars annually. Yet, no company that I have interviewed in either industry (over 150 companies) believes that their processes are under control. Uniformly, companies see revenue management as an opportunity, but do not know how to seize the opportunity. There is no easy answer. To understand why, read on. Industry-Specific Workflows. Each industry shapes demand differently, has different contracting processes with their downstream trading partners (buy-side), and uses substantially different language/terminology to describe what they do. (Can you imagine if you substituted the acronym BOGO (Buy One Get One free) from Consumer Products (CPG) sales cycle for Averaged Managed Price (AMP) for life sciences sales cycle?) These processes are VERY industry specific. This leads to a problem. When buying a solution, where do companies turn? Who can they trust? There is no perfect solution.  Why? Traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies are insufficient to solve the problem. In sales cycles, the battle lines in sales cycles quickly form. Information Technology departments want one throat to choke and believe that this type of functionality can be sourced from a CRM or ERP provider. Lines of Business leaders believe that they need industry-specific functionality from industry-specific suppliers. They are both right, they are just not good at drawing the battle lines. Companies need traditional CRM functionality for business development and contact management, but industry-specific functionality for predictive analytics, baseline forecasting and bifurcated trade management. The decision on Business Intelligence needs to be based on the total IT portfolio.
  22. 22. — 22 — Changing Processes. These are not enterprise, but are inter-enterprise workflows, driven largely by the nature of the relationships in the extended value chain.  As a result, they need to be designed from the outside-in not the inside-out.  It is not easy. The technologies lack an inter-enterprise system of record and standards.  Given the recent shifts in power and the increasing compliance/regulations of these industries, the industry processes are in flux and the need is greater with even more dollars on the table. Opportunity Abounds in Both Planning and Execution. While revenue management should be a horizontal process focused on demand orchestration, the applications in the market are largely piecemeal serving organizational silos not end-to-end supply chain processes. There are no complete solutions. The choice is fraught with risk, but I have seen greater success when companies chose industry-specific best of breed providers than try to adapt the data model through custom development that is required with an ERP solution. In short, while people want it there is no effective end-to-end solution for any industry for revenue management. Split the Baby? It would be great if there was an industry roll-up strategy to consolidate the small vendors that abound in the area of revenue management to deliver an end-to-end solution. The list of names is long:  Accenture/CAS Systems, Adesso, Biztech, DemandTec, MEI, Model N, ProMax, Oracle, Symphony/IRI, SAS, Synectics, Vendavo, Zilliant…  I fear that the end-to-end solution is a long way off. Change is slow. Until then, users will have to split the baby by layering industry-specific revenue management software over industry agnostic CRM.  However, last week, there were a series of announcements that I feel are deserving of a mention. The industry is changing, albeit slowly.  Model N with Its Feet on the Ground and Its Head in the Clouds. Last week, as I sat in the packed audience at the Model N user conference, named Rainmaker, you could feel the energy. As a company, Model N is now nine years old with 350 employees and a global presence. It primarily serves two industries: life sciences and high tech.  The company has moved to an agile release schedule allowing them to move quickly against the changing requirements of life sciences and high- tech. Last year, they successfully released five major and two minor releases. The good news for me was the successful launch of their cloud service.  Buyer preference in revenue management is clearly moving to Software as a Service (SaaS), and Model N can now answer this challenge. Model N is clearly a company that is beyond Smoke and Mirrors. They have a strong product heritage, and pride themselves in serving their customers. I have wondered on many occasions how more successful Model N could be if they improved their sales and marketing. They lack name recognition, and have not differentiated themselves in the market, although the solution is clearly differentiated and reliable. When the smoke clears, I feel that Model N will still be a player. M-Factor Acquired by DemandTec. On Thursday last week, DemandTec announced the acquisition of M-Factor. The M-Factor solution was a unique, niche solution that was launched before its time. The solution enabled the optimization of all marketing spend in consumer products—advertising with a multi-year lift and trade promotion spending with single period lift—to determine the right mix of demand shaping activities. The visionary founder died tragically seven months ago, and although the company had raised venture funds in tough market conditions, like many small enterprise software companies, scaling growth is expensive and takes time compared to the consumer plays that Silicon Valley currently favors. Despite the depth of the optimization solution—one of the strongest technologies in the market to determine baseline forecasting—and a good number of tier one customers—the purchase price was a good deal for DemandTec. 
  23. 23. — 23 — While the DemandTec press releases on the acquisition are bullish, and the companies share a common heritage, the merging of these two SaaS offerings does not yield a complete solution for consumer products. While a strong offering for trade promotion management in the sales account teams, the DemandTec solution still lacks the core functionality for headquarters trade promotion management. However, it is a nice complement to an ERP solution like Oracle. The press release was a bit too much of smoke and mirrors for this old analyst gal. ProMax: A New Contender. A new contender in consumer products trade promotions from down under –Australian heritage—entered the North American and European markets in 2010. Last week, they announced selection by Kimberly Clark. ProMax is attacking the CAS (reference blog article Accenture buys CAS, http://www.supplychainshaman.com/page/4/) user base. With successful implementations at Biersdorf, Dial and Henkel, the team is inching forward touting a simpler, easier best-of-breed solution.  I will keep my eyes on their references to see if they deliver. This is a case of where there is smoke there may be fire. Too early to tell, but promising. Three announcements in a confused market full of smoke and mirrors. While we are inching down the path, we are still a long way from a perfect end-to-end process solution for revenue management. Next week I will be at SAP Insider and the Logility User Conference. Look for updates from me from Orlando. Also look for my post on the Rise of Social Commerce and the many interactions that I am having with retailers on Monday. Lots of progress in that space….
  24. 24. — 24 — Demand Driven
  25. 25. — 25 — Bait And Switch Originally published on April 17, 2013 Bait and switch: A form of fraud. A dishonest marketing tactic where a marketer advertises a very attractive value proposition and then switches the offer to something else after gaining interest by the buyer. Source Merriam-Webster Dictionary DDSN. DDSC. DDVN. CDSN. The acronyms keep coming. The cadence does not stop. Everyone seems to have a new one. Today, they swirl in the market forming a fog. The term demand driven has become vogue again, but what does it really mean? And, should it be taken one step further to orchestrate bidirectionally market-to-market in market-driven value networks? Or will companies stumble on the path by mistakenly implementing supply-centric processes and calling them demand-driven initiatives? There are a number of newly anointed experts writing articles about becoming demand driven. They are piling up on my desk. As a writer of research on demand-driven supply chains for over eight years, I find many amusing. I like the idea that this old concept is gaining new steam; but unfortunately, too few people writing the articles really understand the concepts. Instead, I see a behavior that I call bait and switch. The article is written and the story is spun, but the solution offered is a supply-centric solution based on yesterday’s technology. The original principles of a value network that can sense, shape and translate demand with near-zero latency are being lost in the fog.
  26. 26. — 26 — Why is this happening? The market for large ERP programs is slowing. The gravy train is coming to an end. User satisfaction with planning systems is low.  The market shift is towards analytics, but this new market is confusing. It is still early. Supply chain leaders feel stuck. Their current technologies are inadequate. They are struggling to manage the challenges of  simultaneously driving growth, improving profitability, absorbing complexity and reducing cycles. Frustration is mounting. The concepts surrounding demand driven sound right. Companies are interested. As a result, articles are written proclaiming demand-driven results and then the reader is given a solution that is anything but demand driven. Each time that they are published, the Shaman sighs and chuckles in her little apartment in Baltimore. The first definition of Demand-Driven Supply Chains was pushed into the market by AMR Research (now part of the Gartner Group) in 2004. What the articles that flood the market do not tell you about is: • Slow Adoption. Eight years after the evolution of the concept, there are only a few companies making progress on demand-driven concepts. If asked, I would only cast a vote for the demand-driven work that is happening at Cisco Systems, General Mills, Pfizer, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Kimberly Clark. Each of these pioneers would tell you that it is hard work. No one company—technology provider or supply chain line of business leader—has figured it out. Most have implemented the concepts in parts of their businesses. The most successful have used best-of-breed solutions. • Hard Work. Many companies that have started demand-driven initiatives have abandoned them. The rewards are high, but the cultural barriers are difficult. They are sometimes insurmountable. • Misunderstood. A frequent reason for failure is a lack of understanding of the basic concepts of demand latency, sensing, shaping and translation. As a result, many well- intentioned companies have mislabeled supply-centric initiatives as demand driven. • Demand-Driven Concepts Are Not an Evolution. They are step change requiring either the redeployment of existing technologies or the purchase of new platforms. Details matter. Data model structures are the difference between success and failure. Today’s architectures are inside-out not outside-in, and to be demand driven, the process focus needs to change. This often means a reimplementation of APS, and a change in focus for the company. • Be Careful of the Word “Integrated.” The promise of the integrated supply chain sounds attractive, but tight integration of the supply chain has reduced agility and made the supply chain response less flexible. Today, due to tight integration, only 10% of companies are satisfied with their “what-if” modeling capabilities, and only 23% can model supply chain profitability. Both are essential. The goal should be synchronized demand and supply with role-based dashboards, workbenches and optimization engines that allow users to work across the supply chain. To accomplish this, demand has to be sensed, shaped and translated. • Change Management Issues Are High. The largest challenges are in the redefinition of process flows from inside-out to outside-in. Demand-driven concepts are expansive they extend from the customer’s customer to the supplier’s supplier, but the areas of sales and procurement are often very resistant to the demand-driven concepts. To do this companies need an end-to-end leader. Only 1% of companies have defined this role.
  27. 27. — 27 — • Most Have Defined “Demand” Too Narrowly. Demand in the demand-driven network is about much, much more than forecasting. • It Needs to Be About More Than Demand. Supply is volatile. Shortages abound. It is for this reason that I have defined market-driven value network processes in the book Bricks Matter. The definition is: An adaptive network focused on a value-based outcome that senses and translates market changes (buy- and sell-side markets) bidirectionally with near real-time data latency to align sell, deliver, make and sourcing operations. As we move forward, there are no silver bullets. There are no well-defined industry platforms. I coach companies to take the following steps. • List All the Forms of Demand Data and Map Its Usage. This includes unstructured text data (this can include data from social networks, ratings and reviews from blogs and websites, and channel data), weather data, and transactional data. Some supply chains also have inputs from the evolving world of the Internet of Things where machine sensors transmit frequent streams of data. This is the case for heavy equipment, vending machines in the field, and smart shelves. • Map the Process Outside-In from the Channel Back. Start with the channel, and map the requirements of the channel. Evaluate how to reduce latency by using downstream data to sense demand and implementing demand translation technologies to make the downstream data usable. These technologies include the work by Terra Technology and ToolsGroup. (While SAP has purchased SmartOps and is marketing a demand sensing/demand translation offering, I have not been able to validate the solution through references. It is clear that math matters. Neither Oracle or JDA references were able to meet the challenges in the field.) • Build “What-If” Analytics. Technologies like Kinaxis and Steelwedge are frequently undervalued for supply chain visualization and “what-if” analytics. Cloud-based analytics for sourcing and the management of supplier networks are evolving and should be embraced. Consider solutions from GHX, Elemica, E2open and SCA Technologies to improve end-to-end visibility.
  28. 28. — 28 — • Design the Network. Actively design the network with clear push/pull boundaries and right size buffers. The strongest solutions in the market continue to be Llamasoft, Insights and JDA. And, the strongest consulting partner for network design is Chainalytics. I also like the work that is happening at the Demand-Driven Institute on the redesign of manufacturing to be more demand driven. • Focus on End-To-End Orchestration. Build processes that enable the alignment between demand- and market-shaping levers to orchestrate end-to-end bidirectionally through outside-in horizontal processes. Actively orchestrate demand through shaping, and the supply response through the market-driven levers below. Charter the end-to-end process manager to orchestrate a market-driven value network that connects and orchestrates bidirectionally between markets. • Use New Forms of Data. Embrace Digital. Think long-term on the use of digital signals. Map the use of mobile/social and eCommerce on the future of the digital path to purchase, and the impact of machine-to-machine interfaces in manufacturing on digital manufacturing. It excites me to see the revitalization of manufacturing applications to be more demand driven based on the Internet of Things in process industries and 3D printing in the discrete industries. • Experiment with Best-Of-Breed Technologies. This innovation is not going to come from the large players. It will require large manufacturers to take risks with smaller players like Applied Predictive Technologies, Enterra Solutions, Orchestro, Retail Solutions, and Signal Demand. • There Is No Substitute for Leadership. Success happens when there is an inspired leader that believes that the supply chain needs to own the supply chain from the consumer/user to the supplier’s supplier. • Focus on Building Horizontal Processes. These bridge the gaps between functions. The four main horizontal processes to tackle are revenue management, sales and operations planning, supplier development, and corporate social responsibility.  
  29. 29. — 29 — In summary, progress on supply chain cycles and margins, and balancing the trade-offs of complexity, has stalled. Over the last decade, the only metric that we have improved is revenue/employee. Leaders do not know what to do to power themselves off of this horizontal plateau. The gap between what we have and what we need has widened.
  30. 30. — 30 — Change the Conversation Originally published on October 29 2013 It is Monday morning. As the sun rises, I find myself on the 6:00 AM train drinking coffee. I am giving thanks that I am able to do what I do. There is nothing like a cup of coffee at this time of morning. As I hold the warm ceramic mug in my hands, the horizon rolls forward with the rhythmic sounds of the train on the track.  I love the sounds of the train. I am lost in thought about the client that I am going to spend the day with. It is the end of a long project, and I am excited to share their data. There is such power in being able to pull together quantitative data with financial benchmarking analysis and qualitative interviews to help them see new insights. It is great to pull back the covers and help companies see the new trends and insights on supply chain excellence through research methods. In work with clients, I find that they have good intentions and they want to be more outside-in and demand driven, but they get caught in traps because they have not changed the conversation. This will be a primary focus of my session today. Volatility is rising, supply chains are becoming more important and complexity is making resiliency tougher. All are good reasons to have the conversation. Here are the sticking points that I see: • Focus Less on Perfect Numbers. Embrace Demand Error. Demand volatility is increasing and the technologies to manage demand are maturing. In this transition, it is more critical to learn to use demand data than to make the demand number perfect. As a result, the discussion needs to be less about the “demand forecast number” and more about the probability of demand. Companies need to try to reduce demand error to the extent possible, but realize that demand error is a reality of managing a supply chain. As a result, leaders need to drive the effort to embrace demand error and design the network to drive the same cost, quality and customer service levels given the level of demand error. This requires using new forms of analytics for inventory optimization and network design and doing less on spreadsheets. • Help Others to Understand the Impact of Complexity. Nine out of ten companies are stuck in their ability to make progress on operating margin and inventory turns. To understand this, a good place to start is the measurement of the forecastability of the products in the demand plan and understand how this is changing. Track the impact of rising complexity on forecastability and the impact on the inventory plan. • Reduce Bias and Error. If only companies could sell what they forecast. Most companies have a large, and positive bias. To counteract this, actively use Forecast Value Add techniques (FVA) to reduce bias and error. Communicate progress on a monthly basis. Push to help leaders understand the impact of demand bias on customer service, safety stock and slow and obsolete inventory. • Help Others to See the Options. Actively Design the Network. As you do, focus less on the levels of inventory and more on the trends and right sizing of the forms and function of inventory. (The form of inventory is the state of inventory and includes decisions for raw, semi-finished goods and finished goods. The function of inventory is the role that the inventory plays in driving the right supply chain response. The function of inventory includes cycle stock, in-transit stock, promotional stock, safety stock,
  31. 31. — 31 — seasonal stock, etc.) Actively model and help peers to understand the impact of rising complexity on the form and function of inventory. As you design the network, build push/pull decoupling points and buffers. • Focus Forward. Finance and accounting use largely backward measurements. Push the executive team to focus forward in the design of measurement systems. Lead teams to focus on forward-looking business flows through the channel. Align the flows to maximize customer service taking ownership for sell through the channel not just sell-into the channel. Don’t stumble and get hung up on only measuring backward- looking measures. Any others that you would put on the list?
  32. 32. — 32 — It Is Just You and Me, Dude. The Secret Is Safe. Promise. Originally published on August 1, 2013 At the end of the presentation today, it happened. At break, after sharing research on the principles of becoming market driven, I was relaxing with my coffee when I heard a person softly say, “I am sorry to be so dumb, but I don’t think that I understand the concepts of becoming market driven ... or the differences between market driven and demand driven. It is probably me, and I hate to ask it in the group, and I would certainly hate to APPEAR in your blog tomorrow, but can you explain it ONE more time?” It is ok. It is just you and me, dude. I will not share your name publicly. Since so many people have the same question, I thought that it would make a good blog post. I have done it in the form of an open letter. Dear Gnarly Dude: First of all, there is no such thing as a ‘’dumb question.” It takes courage to ask tough questions, and I appreciate it. These concepts are not easy. In fact, it took me eight years of research. So, please don’t apologize. It is ok.  Let’s start with the difference between market-driven versus marketing-driven processes. In the old- fashioned, conventional organization, functional processes are usually marketing driven. Marketing hones what they think is a brilliant message and broadcasts the message to the crowd through media tactics. The marketing group tightly controls the message to build brand. It is hard to change because the marketing organization driving a marketing-centric program has worked over the last two decades. Change is tough. Contrast this to a market-driven company, where you are serving the customer by listening, testing and learning. It is not about control. Instead, you understand that the crowd has wisdom to share and you want to listen. You want the supply chain to be designed to drive unique assortments and to reliably respond to changes in demand. To do this, the supply chain is designed to sense, learn and then respond. Today’s conventional supply chains only respond, and the design of the systems usually gives us a “fairly dumb response” based on history. Additionally, in a marketing-driven company, good news happens fast. When a product is selling and marketing is meeting the business objectives, everyone is quick to grab a beer and do a toast. I am sure you have a lot of T-shirts in your closet from these launches. However, when the sales are not at plan, the news travels slowly in the organization and there is often a lot of denial. As a result, organizations are usually struggling to write off SLOB (slow and obsolete inventory). A discussion with marketing about SLOB is never a good thing. So, what is the difference between a market-driven and a demand-driven value network? A demand- driven value network senses demand with minimal latency to drive a near real-time response for demand shaping and demand translation. In this network, the bullwhip effect is minimized using channel data. Contrast this with a market-driven network that builds on the demand-driven concepts. It takes it one step further. Being demand-driven is a prerequisite to be market driven. In a market-driven value network, the use of market data is used to orchestrate trade-offs market-to-market (buy- and sell-side markets or channel to supplier trade-offs) through the use of advanced analytics in horizontal processes to orchestrate demand and supply decisions based on analysis of profitability, mix and volume against the business strategy.
  33. 33. — 33 — Why do we need to change? It comes down to good business. In most companies, growth is stalled. Traditional marketing tactics are not as effective as they used to be. Power has shifted to the shopper. Companies today are unable to drive profitability, and manage inventory cycles, while absorbing the complexity of a rapidly changing product mix. The traditional supply chain is designed to support high volume, predictable items in known markets. When things change, it cannot adapt. So, if you buy the argument, here are some steps to take. The first step is the building of an architecture to match customer attributes to product attributes. Think about these concepts: Building of Listening Posts and Actively Listening and Learning from Consumer Data. Most of this is unstructured data—Facebook, Twitter, Ratings and Reviews, and Blogs—which requires the deployment of sentiment and text mining applications. These technologies are new, and the process evolution to support the use of the data is evolving. The first step is to set up a cross-functional team to review this data weekly and then start to use the data in conventional processes (e.g. rating and review data into forecasting as a causal factor for new product launch, discussions on true customer sentiment to drive the decision of how much to make on the second production run after launch, or market receptivity to a new promotion, etc.) Design of Outside-in Processes. The use of channel data—point of sale, warehouse withdrawal, basket and retail partner perpetual inventory data—to understand channel flows and improve demand sensing. When companies are market-driven they use channel data to drive a pull-based response while actively designing push/pull decoupling points to maximize flexibility while minimizing costs. This channel data is archived in a system of reference, often termed a Demand Signal Repository, for reuse. Using cognitive reasoning engines and advanced optimization, unique insights radically improve the response. Rethinking Planning. This channel data is then used to drive planning. Demand planning models are based on attribute logic. So, as items change, the new item is forecasted based on profiles of the history of products with like attributes. Embrace Test-and-Learn. Actively design in vitro test-and-learn scenarios based on carefully designed testing based on market data. Use test and control markets to adopt assortment and demand shaping activities. Use new forms of analytics to learn from channel sales. Build a supply chain to support this type of agile response. Use New Forms of Analytics to Drive Demand and Supply Orchestration. Traditional supply chains respond to volume-based pulls based on orders and shipments. The data are stored as an item sold, at a location, based on volume. In market-driven value networks, companies actively use optimization and predictive analytics to match price and demand shaping activities market-to-market. In horizontal processes, like revenue management and Sales and Operations planning (S&OP), new forms of analytics are actively used to make trade-offs of mix, profitability and volume. Commodity markets are too volatile for this to be a passive process. For example, if a product has a high commodity cost, or is difficult to manufacture with unsure reliability, the company would question if this is the right product to promote or market. The orchestration of demand to supply evaluates the price elasticity of market pricing against the commodity risk in sourcing and the reliability of processes to deliver. Let me give you an example. During the recession, there were two competing breakfast cereal companies. Each had the option to promote either cereals with corn or wheat. It was proven that consumer sentiment was equally disposed to either product. Corn was skyrocketing in cost and one cereal company orchestrated demand and supply and decided to promote a line of wheat products. The other company promoted corn-based products based on history. The company that promoted wheat-based products gained market share and managed profitability. The other company reported a serious decline in earnings.
  34. 34. — 34 — Alignment of Functional to Corporate Metrics. Focus on the Use of New Forms of Analytics in Horizontal Processes. Market-driven companies understand that the most efficient supply chain is not the most effective. They actively design the supply chain based on the probability of demand and the uncertainty of supply. It is clear that the complex trade-offs of the supply chain cannot be made in spreadsheets. As a result, they model the potential of the supply chain by analyzing the trade-offs of growth, profit, cycles and complexity in new forms of analytics that support the horizontal processes of revenue management, Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP), supplier development and corporate social responsibility. So, gnarly dude, I put you at the head of the class. You listened intently in this morning’s session, and you asked wonderful questions. I wish you well in your market-driven journey. I cannot wait to write your case study. Sincerely yours, The Shaman  
  35. 35. — 35 — Good-Bye to a Global Pioneer Originally published on September 13, 2011 Last week, while I was in Shanghai attending the IBF Forecasting Conference, I learned of the death of Dick Clark. Dick, the Demand Planning Global Process Owner at Procter & Gamble, was always one of my favorite interviews for my reports. Not only was he smart and insightful, but he was also a fighter. He fought for demand planning excellence, and after many years of a heroic fight against brain and lung cancer, Dick slipped away last Sunday following a heart attack. He leaves a network of trained global planners within the Procter & Gamble system that will carry on his legacy. Remembering a Legacy Five years ago, in an interview, Dick and I spoke of China and the barriers to building a team of planners in the explosive economy. At that time, I had just returned from Shanghai and was disappointed to not find more planning talent at the supply chain events. Dick had just finished training all of the P&G regions on forecasting and had spent months on the road with his in-country teams. We shared notes. We talked about what makes good global planning, and how to best use regional observations. It was one of my favorite discussions with Dick, and it was especially poignant as I watched a group of 60 planners register for the IBF certification/conference. (I could not find a planner at a conference five years ago.) Coming back from China, I wanted to talk to Dick about my observations. I wanted to share that while I could not find planners at conferences five years ago, that I was very impressed with the quality, focus and intent of the planners that came to the IBF conference. I felt that I witnessed a focus on planning that was not possible five years ago. I wanted to thank him for his service to improve the practice of forecasting. Unfortunately, this will not be possible. Instead, I hung my head and spent an hour walking outside thinking about what I learned from Dick Clark. What I Learned from Dick Dick was very giving and always prepared for my interviews. He never turned down an opportunity. Here are some of my key takeaways from the many discussions: A good forecast is used: My first analyst report was “What Makes a Good Forecast”. While other practicioners spoke of numbers, models and technologies, Dick took a much more pragmatic approach. In his opinion, the best forecasts are used. He was working to improve consistency in the data, reliability in reporting and simplicity in data representation. Organizational change is slow. Be patient: He had been at this for over twenty years. We spoke of bias and error and the need for organizational alignment. His caution was that success comes in inches not miles. He believed that with the consolidation of major manufacturers that the evolution of great demand planning practices required a slow and consistent focus. He believed one of the most important attributes for his team was patience.  Forecasting teams must be trained: Dick was a stickler for training. What I thought should be obvious, Dick explained was not so obvious, especially in emerging economies. He believed that the teams should be trained in region and that it was his role to slowly build the skills. He dedicated his life to this legacy. Look for new ways to do things: Dick was one of the earliest adopters of Advanced Planning Systems (APS) and he was always scouting for new technologies. He had the courage to push the adoption of what was then a little known technology provider, Terra Technology, and he was
  36. 36. — 36 — confident to invest in co-development with a small, and emerging technology vendor. He understood that it was harder to do co-development with large technology providers, and was willing to take risks. Give back to the practice: In the years that he fought cancer with radiation and chemotherapy, I frequently ran into Dick on the speaker circuit. While many would have withdrawn to heal, Dick continued to give. I watched him give a speech last December with a disfigured face and slurred speech from radiation. At break, I asked about his treatment, and if he was ok to travel. He commented that he was not ready to die. He fought. He gave, and he believed. Supply chain management practices are maturing in China. Most of the planners that came to the event were from major corporations that had been mentored by the Dick Clarks of their organization. Thank you, Dick, and all of the other early pioneers that paved the way for global supply chains. I want to say thanks for all that you did. Dick, may you rest in peace. I will miss you.
  37. 37. — 37 — Demand Sensing
  38. 38. — 38 — Stasis Originally published on April 27, 2014 sta•sis (ˈsteɪ sɪs, ˈstæs ɪs) n., pl. sta•ses (ˈsteɪ siz, ˈstæs iz) the state of equilibrium or inactivity caused by opposing equal force It was 1988. I was involved in early Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) pilots. In my work at Clorox we were starting to ship to Walmart using Retail Link. We were excited. It seemed like the start of a great thing. In the pilot, we were able to see retailer flows. We talked furiously about the design of the End- to-End Supply Chain (E2E). At that time, the conference circuit was buzzing. The words collaboration, Efficient Consumer Response (ECR), Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), and Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR) filled the air. The promises were thick. The concepts were right, but the execution was flawed. The processes were overhyped and companies rushed head-over-heels to join the throng. Today, the average Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company has eleven VMI relationships and six VMI planners. Based on the research that we are doing, we can see that the programs are not growing. They are not contracting. Instead, they are caught between sales-driven and supply-driven processes. We have stasis. Figure 1. While our initial energies were focused on large accounts, today’s VMI programs are getting the best traction in the drug and dollar channels. There are few VMI programs left with Publix, Safeway, Target
  39. 39. — 39 — and Walmart conspicuously absent. Kroger’s movement to Market6 added to the stasis. Companies are shipping fewer and fewer cases using VMI processes. The programs operate as on an island. Only one company interviewed is actively working on the building of E2E processes, outside-in, connecting the flows of VMI. Ironically, while it is connected to the outside world, it is not well-connected to the manufacturer’s enterprise systems. Most companies’ demand-planning systems do not allow easy integration of retail data; and the connection to the planning systems requires an unwanted redesign that most companies try to avoid. Reflections We are now entering our third decade of managing VMI processes. Most of the programs have been inherited.  The teams running them were not part of the overhyped exuberance. The teams running them are heads-down and in management mode. Most of the VMI processes report through customer service. The technologies are fixed and the processes are tried-and-true. These teams are not actively trying to design end-to-end flows or synchronize the VMI programs with other demand signals. It just is. VMI has become a reliable part of the order flow. At Supply Chain Insights, we are in the process of completing a study on VMI that will publish in our May Newsletter. (The study is still open. If you would like to participate and compare your results to those of the industry, just access the VMI Study through this link). We currently have 35 responses and are trying to drive the response rate to at least 50. A Head-Scratcher In the study, the average company reduced the costs of transportation by 3% and reduced the order cycle time by at least a day. And, as shown in Figure 1, the orders are cleaner and more reliable. Customer service levels improve. So, why if the process reduces costs, improves order cycle times, and order reliability, are we not driving greater adoption? These preliminary results make me scratch my head. Why are we at a stasis? Why are we not taking advantage of VMI more actively? I think the answer lies in the fact that the program is juxtaposed between the opposing forces of sales and supply. When companies become market-driven and understand the differences between a sales- driven approach and a market-driven value chain, the processes take on greater value. The mapping of flows outside-in and horizontally across the company enables greater value. The more research that I do, the more I scratch my head. The CPG organizations talk more about collaboration than other industries, but they have made less progress than high-tech and electronics or A&D’s work on Performance-based Logistics (PBL). We have had a lot of talk and flurry over initiatives, but we are at a stasis. What do you think? I would love your thoughts. Why is VMI at a stasis?
  40. 40. — 40 — Can You Take the Risk? Originally published on April 11, 2014 “This is not a supply chain process. It is a new way of doing business.” Financial Leader in Discussions on Demand Sensing In 2013, 80% of supply chain leaders had a material supply chain disruption. It was not just one. The average company had  three. Yet, in a study that we just completed, when asked about business pain, supply chain risk rates low. How come? It is new. It lacks a consistent definition and set of practices. Companies reward the urgent. Risk management requires a focus on the important. It requires leadership and orchestration. Teams don’t know what to do. The companies that are the most mature learned the hard way. They had a disruption. Defining the Topic Let’s start with a definition. For the purposes of the study that we just completed, we defined supply chain risk management as the proactive identification and resolution of potential risks to the supply chain. The key word in this sentence is proactive. Unfortunately, too many supply chains are reactive. The systems respond, but they do not sense. Performance is measured by indicators, not by performance predictors. The reward systems focus on the urgent, not the important. In this series of posts, I will be sharing insights from the research from this recent study. This data will also be featured in an upcoming report in our newsletter. New Insights When you talk to supply chain leaders about risk management, their answers tend to be hard-wired for supply. Many will wax eloquently about the work that they are doing on “control tower” or “supply chain visibility.” It is not sufficient. We are only dipping our toes into turbulent waters. I have been working as an analyst in supply chain management for the last decade. In this role, I have done a study on risk management about every five years. I seldom get surprised on study results; but, the answer to the question on risk drivers in this survey surprised me.  As you can see in Figure 1, today it is less about supply and more about demand. The largest gap in risk management expected over the next five years will be the management of global operations. For me, these two trends hop off the page: • Increasing Complexity of Operations. With a decade of building global supply chains behind us, companies are feeling the impact. Local regulations, fair labor, variability in shipping lanes, new materials, outsourced manufacturing and faster product development cycles are all contributing to the pain. The financial stability of contract manufacturers and third-party logistics firms is a growing risk. It is not just one factor. We are better at managing regional supply chains than tangled/knotty global ones. The organizational dynamics and politics make regional/global governance difficult. • Demand Variability. The biggest surprise for me in the research is the role of demand uncertainty on risk. The building of demand sensing capabilities requires the automation of market sensing and the use of channel data. The change management issues are high. It is difficult for the supply chain to accomplish this by themselves.
  41. 41. — 41 — Why?  The term “supply chain” is politically charged. It has become a function, not an end-to-end process.  Marketing and sales are also functions. The functional approach does not allow us to build demand processes. By and large, marketing and sales are not good at forecasting demand. They introduce bias. To combat this issue, and drive success in demand sensing, many companies have to rename the work stream so that it can truly be an end-to-end focus. For sales-driven and marketing-driven companies, this is a major change management issue.  Figure 1. So, What Should Companies Do? Recognize the Issue. Simplify Operations. This includes simplification of the product lines and the definition of standard ingredients and/or interchangeable parts. Our research supports that getting this on the product development agenda is a barrier. Mitigating this risk issue requires striking the right balance between global and local governance. There is less variability in the management of regional supply chains. Accountability and priorities are clearer. Use Channel Data and Build Demand Sensing Capabilities. Reduce demand latency and automate the processes of demand. I work with many companies on the differences between marketing-driven and sales-driven processes and the journey to become market driven. When marketing and sales operate as functions, they are not aligned to more holistic end-to-end processes. This is growing as an enterprise risk.
  42. 42. — 42 — Focus Where It Matters. Yesterday, I hosted a webinar with David Simchi-Levi of MIT. He has defined a Risk Index which analyzes the Time for Recovery and the Financial Impact (FI) to analyze the risk of the supplier base. It is a great technique to use in supplier development and network design.  For those interested, check out David’s recent article on Harvard Business Review. His work with Ford is profiled in Figure 2. After the analysis of Ford’s supplier base, David offers recommendations and actions that are shown in figures.  However, to use this methodology requires the organization to be proactive. In the Ford example, the greatest risk was with a tier 2 supplier of O-rings that had low spend. David’s methodology is a stark contrast to the conventional work on supplier development and network design. In the conventional approach, companies would look at the suppliers with the greatest spend and miss the impact on the tier 2 suppliers with low spend. David’s point in the webinar is that you have to be focused and deliberate. Ford has 5,000 suppliers. It is not a simple activity. It requires work. However, based on the results of the study, it is worth it. Figure 2. The slides from the risk management webinar are now available on SlideShare. Check them out. We will be doing complimentary webinars twice a month in a countdown to the Supply Chain Insights Global Summit. In this event on September 10th-11th, 230 supply chain leaders will gather to focus on the supply chain of the future. With the coalescence of digital manufacturing, new forms of analytics, The Internet of Things, and the collaborative economy, we think that it is time to rethink supply chain practices and imagine what it could be. Today, 45% of the seats are sold. It is limited to 15% technology and consulting attendees. We would love to see you there.
  43. 43. — 43 — How Do I Know If I Am Ready? Originally published on March 27, 2014 “How can I move the ball down the field, if I don’t have the ball?” A Question from My Training Class this Week “How do I know if I am ready for cool technologies? Especially demand sensing and shaping?” A Demand Planner for a Large Multinational Pharmaceutical Company Last week was a blur. It was a series of days on planes, trains and automobiles. Unfortunately, it was one of those weeks with pressing deadlines when nothing goes right. I rescheduled my Monday to meet with a client on a pressing deadline and worked through the night to edit and refine the reports/ journals for last week’s newsletter. I also continued to work on the manuscript for the book Metrics That Matter to publish in the fall of 2014. The book is now a very worn manuscript. At the end of the week, we hosted a networking call of the Shaman’s Circle. This is a networking group that meets by phone once a month. No technologists are invited. It is designed to be business leaders talking to business leaders. Each session has a topic. This week’s topic was cool technologies. In preparation for the call, I had given the group a list of emerging technologies that I am watching and I asked each person to come to the call ready to talk about technologies that they are working with. I wanted it to be a discussion about cool technologies, but we quickly got into the subject of adoption. During the call I got asked a question that made me stop and think. The question was, “Lora, we are a late adopter. We are not comfortable being on the bleeding edge. How do I know if I am ready for these new technologies? Especially demand sensing?” I thought that this was an excellent question. It is frequently asked. So, I am going to focus here and share my answer: Demand sensing is the application of analytic technologies to detect short-term patterns in channel data and translate it into distribution requirements. It replaces rules-based consumption in demand planning, and will improve short-term forecasting by 30-35%. The data can be structured or unstructured. It makes a difference. The average client that has implemented demand sensing technologies has reduced inventory by 11%. So, you might ask, why is this not a no-brainer? The answer might surprise you. Here goes: Sales Wants to Manipulate the Data. When sales is incented to move product into the channel, they want to touch the forecast and expedite shipments to make bonus incentives. They are uncomfortable trusting their fate to a black box. What do you do about it? Find an advocate within sales to help sponsor the project. Help to educate the sales force and consider modifying sales incentives for the first three quarters to let the shipments even out to a pull-based signal. The short-term impact for one to two quarters can be a reduction in shipments even though case fill and end-level consumption will rise. Make sure that this is not a surprise. Break Paradigms. Traditional Processes Encourage Bias and Managerial Overrides. The implementation of demand sensing puts the fate of the company in the hands of an optimization tool. It will drive a better answer than managerial overrides; but, for companies that have encouraged managerial overrides and consensus forecasting without the discipline of forecast value-add, expect for it to be a battle.
  44. 44. — 44 — The answer? Take it slow. Prove that it works and educate the team on how the “touching of demand data” actually reduces demand accuracy. Be deliberate. Communicate often.Understand that people will be uncomfortable. It Is All About Influence Management. Be very clear on the goal and work to increase advocacy in finance and sales. Make the project a win-win. Yes, it may decrease short-term sales, but in the longer-term it will increase customer service, reduce inventory and improve the execution of new product launch and trade promotions. Who doesn’t want this? The answer might surprise you. When I was asked the question this week of  “How can I move the ball down the field if I don’t have the ball?” My answer was for the team to help the other teams understand the rules of the game and work to move the ball down the field together.  Not everyone understands supply chain; and for many, a discussion of demand sensing will sound like gobbledygook. The success rate is highly influenced by this pre-work. Sell the project internally and find an advocate. And, yes, many companies fail before they succeed. Does this mean the technology is bad? No. It just means that the company didn’t take the right steps to get ready. Remember, many organizations do not understand the basics of demand management. Don’t take it for granted. Would love to hear your thoughts. I will be landing soon in Philadelphia. Spending the weekend writing and then off to New York to work with a client and then speaking later in the week at a conference. I hope to see you in my travels!  

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